The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 197

had been and am; but
why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses--not
destroyed--not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I
heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things
in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily--how
calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once
conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion
there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had
never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his
eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture--a pale blue eye,
with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and
so by degrees--very gradually--I made up my mind to take the life of the
old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you
should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded--with
what caution--with what foresight--with what dissimulation I went to
work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week
before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch
of his door and opened it--oh so gently! And then, when I had made an
opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed,
closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh,
you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it
slowly--very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's
sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so
far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have
been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I
undid the lantern cautiously--oh, so cautiously--cautiously (for the
hinges creaked)--I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell
upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights--every night
just at midnight--but I found the eye always closed; and so it was
impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but
his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into
the

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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_ _Lenore_ ] [Illustration] The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition By Edgar Allan Poe Quarto Photogravure Edition Illustrated from Paintings by Galen J.
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If so, it becomes all the more distinctive as a marvelous bit of imaginative writing, and as such ranks equally with that wild snatch of melody, “The Raven.
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I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect.
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In general, suggestions, having arisen pell-mell, are pursued and forgotten in a similar manner.
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That pleasure which is at once the most intense, the most elevating, and the most pure, is, I believe, found in the contemplation of the beautiful.
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” Now I designate Beauty as the province of the poem, merely because it is an obvious rule of Art that effects should be made to spring from direct causes—that objects should be attained through means best adapted for their attainment—no one as yet having been weak enough to deny that the peculiar elevation alluded to is most readily attained in the poem.
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The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had predetermined as the tone of the poem.
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word, “Nevermore,” at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone, and in length about one hundred lines.
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My first object (as usual) was originality.
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I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, also for the effect of contrast between the marble and the plumage—it being understood that the bust was absolutely suggested by the bird—the bust of Pallas being chosen, first, as most in keeping with the scholarship of the lover, and, secondly, for the sonorousness of the word, Pallas, itself.
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In the two stanzas which follow, the design is more obviously carried out: Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling.
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The casement being thrown open at the fluttering of the bird’s wings, the bird itself perches on the most convenient seat out of the immediate reach of the student, who, amused by the incident and the oddity of the visitor’s demeanour, demands of it, in jest and without looking for a reply, its name.
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seek a moral in all that has been previously narrated.
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Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me,.
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” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
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